August 18, 2018

Ring of Fire at the Ivoryton Playhouse

Ivoryton:  What happens when you give the gritty and rustic lyrics of Johnny Cash to highly trained, technically proficient, powerful Broadway vocalists? The result is a stunning, moving, uplifting musical that has played to sold-out houses across the country and is opening at the Ivoryton Playhouse on August 10.

The musical takes for its marquee the title of one of the hit tunes of American singer-songwriter Cash. But the show, conceived by William Meade and created by Richard Maltby Jr., drawing on a cache of Cash songs, is not a biography of The Man in Black.

In 38 musical numbers, a mosaic of American experience is pieced together in Ring of Fire, the creators say. There’s a scene about keeping the love fires burning in middle age (“While I’ve Got It On My Mind”), there’s a scene with generations of a family sharing a meal (and sharing music) in “Daddy Sang Bass,” there’s the second-act opener about life travels (“I’ve Been Everywhere”), even a section with a chain gang (“Folsom Prison Blues”).

Richard Maltby said, “It’s about home and family and getting together and loving somebody and having a backyard and generations living together, it’s about what holds you together in the face of a hard life, it’s about the really basic family values.” The show’s song list includes Cash’s “Country Boy,” “A Thing Called Love,” “Five Feet High and Rising,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” “I’ve Been Everywhere,” “The Man in Black,” and his final hit, “Hurt.”

David Lutken* , just back from London’s West End where he had a terrific run with his new show Woody Sez, about the legendary Woody Guthrie, directs and appears in this production. David was a member of the original Broadway company of Ring of Fire. Staging and choreography is by Sherry Stregack and musical direction by Eric Anthony*. Cast includes John Rochette*, who was seen last summer at the Playhouse in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and Finian’s Rainbow, Scott Sowers*, Helen Russell*, Deb Lyons*, Megan Loomis*, Michael Hicks*, Jon Brown* and Eric Anthony*.

Ring of Fire  opens on August 10  and runs thru September 4  for 4 weeks. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*member of Actors Equity

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